Category: Dodge

Carbon-Fiber 1970 Charger and 1969 Camaro Just the Start of a Wave of Composite-Bodied Classic Muscle Cars – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

Carbon-Fiber 1970 Charger and 1969 Camaro Just the Start of a Wave of Composite-Bodied Classic Muscle Cars – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


One thousand pounds. Half a ton. Way more than any strongman contestant can lift. That’s how much weight Finale Speed has been able to cut out of a 1969 Camaro by replacing its steel body with carbon fiber. And the company’s aiming to bring that supercar technology to pretty much any American muscle car.

“Carbon fiber’s been around for years,” said JD Rudisill, who founded Finale Speed in Yukon, Oklahoma, in April 2022. “It’s what they use in Formula 1, all the hypercars, because it’s just a fraction of the weight of steel. Half the weight and double the strength, is what they say. It’s just that nobody had used it on the classics.”

Other aftermarket companies have offered ready-made carbon-fiber components, Rudisill noted, and a handful do offer full carbon-fiber bodies, but Rudisill said that as far as he knows, Finale is the first company to offer full carbon-fiber bodies for 1968-1970 Dodge Chargers and first-generation Chevrolet Camaros.

The latter made its debut this past week at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction as a complete car dubbed Viral, powered by a 650hp LT4 6.2-liter crate engine. The former has had a far more eventful few months. From the start, Rudisill wanted to work with Dodge representatives to license the second-generation Charger’s design, and even before those agreements were in place, he got an invitation to unveil the Charger’s bare carbon-fiber body at Dodge’s Speed Week event in August – the same event at which the company debuted its all-electric Charger Daytona SRT Concept.

“We just got there, and we’ve got Tom Sacoman (Director of Dodge Product and Motorsports) and Ralph Gilles (Stellantis Head of Design) crawling all over it,” Rudisill said. “I’m in shock. Then Tim Kuniskis sees it and says he wants it at SEMA, still unfinished and with a Hellcrate in it.

According to Rudisill and Finale’s Chris Jacobs, the company has been able to make such great strides in less than a year due to a number of factors. While Rudisill gives credit to the eight guys in the shop who came to the company from Rudisill’s prior venture (“The eight best guys you want working on carbon fiber cars,” he said), he also has 15 years of experience working with carbon fiber in automotive applications. Finale has also partnered with Brothers Carbon in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, which supplies the dozen or so pieces that Finale then pieces together into bodies.

(For what it’s worth, Brothers displays a complete carbon-fiber Bumpside F-100 body on its websiteSpeedkore has also built full carbon-fiber Dodge Chargers, but does not appear to offer the bodies separately. Kindig-It Design offers 1953 Corvettes with full carbon fiber bodies. Classic Recreations, which was already building carbon-fiber Shelby G.T.500s, also announced a full carbon-fiber Shelby Cobra body last year.)

Perhaps just as important, Finale employs a straightforward, old-school method for building carbon fiber bodies that dispenses with the time-consuming process of CAD modeling, 3D printing, and other high-tech prototyping solutions normally associated with carbon fiber. More like creating fiberglass body panels, the process starts with sourcing a body from which Finale can pull fiberglass molds, which then go to Brothers for laying up with prepreg (carbon fiber sheets with the resin already embedded in the carbon fiber weave) and curing in an autoclave. “With the prepreg, they just roll it out and trim it to fit,” Jacobs said. “It looks just like they’re installing Dynamat.

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With a load of props, restored 1935 Twin Coach milk truck looks ready to make the rounds – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


All it needs is a driver in a uniform

Some of the most innovative production vehicle engineering during the Thirties came in one of the unlikeliest vehicle segments: milk trucks. Though designed for such a humble purpose, seemingly every model had some unique attribute designed to maximize a milkman’s efficiency. Take, for instance, this 1935 Twin Coach milk truck listed for sale on While the drivetrain’s relatively typical for the time, the interior makes use of every available square inch, and the cab—much like a DIVCO—allows for both sitting and standing driving positions. This one remains true to its origins, with the livery of the dairy company it originally served replicated along its flanks during its restoration and plenty of milk crates, bottles, and other ephemera stacked in the back. From the seller’s description:

This interesting and well-maintained Twin Coach vehicle was configured as a milk truck and is the last known example from the Ferguson Dairy fleet in Columbiana, Ohio. It’s easy to imagine it delivering milk, cottage cheese, eggs and butter when new nearly nine decades ago! Fully restored, this timeless classic is completely hand-painted (no decals here!).

Behind the driver are raised platforms on each side of the truck to hold original stacked Cream Crest wooden milk crates. Metal runners keep the crates in place. Included are original milk bottles, wire bottle carriers and several vintage milk cans. There are also several antique galvanized milk boxes that would have sat on the porch, where customers put their used glass bottles and received full ones from the milkman. Ample windows surround the entire truck, and there are sliding doors on each side. The unique flip-up rear door offers easy access to the dairy goods. The truck’s Hercules 199 cubic inch four-cylinder flathead engine is located in front of the driver and is accessible for servicing through a panel between the driver and the windshield

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Blast From the Past: The 1933 Ford Kamp Kar Was One of the First V8-Powered RVs – Elena Gorgan @Autoevolution


When Ford introduced the Flathead V8 for the 1932 model year, it ushered in a new era of affordable motoring – one that we’re celebrating throughout the month of September as the V8 swansong. This Ford-based RV known as the Kamp Kar deserves its place in our unofficial V8 hall of fame.

September 2022 is V8 Month here on autoevolution: a month-long celebration of the iconic engine, as it’s preparing for its curtain call after a glorious run. Today’s episode of Blast From the Past brings a V8-powered RV, which also happens to be one of the first with this powerplant produced, an impeccable time capsule, and a slice of RV history.

It’s called the Ford Kamp Kar or the 1933 Ford Runkle Housecar, with the latter name offering some insight into its origin, and the former erroneously leading you to think it had some kind of connection with the Kardashian family, aka the world’s most famous klan for their love of names and words that start with the letter K. Jokes aside, this self-sufficient housecar is on permanent display at the famous Recreational Vehicle / Motor Home (RV/MH) Hall of Fame Museum in Elkhart, Indiana, which also hosts Ford’s first production-series RV and the first-ever motorhomes built.

Walter Runkle of Macomb, Illinois, was a house builder but, for about ten years of his life, he did low-volume production of custom motorhomes. People would bring him automobiles and he’d convert them into tiny houses on wheels using his experience in construction. This unit is a good example in this sense, if not the best, since it was for his personal use: a converted Ford V8 that he’d use between 1933 and 1947 for his yearly winter trips to Florida.

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History of the Dodge Ram –


The Dodge Ram, also known as the Ram pickup, is a full-size pickup truck marketed under the Ram Trucks brand and manufactured by Chrysler Group LLC. The name “Ram” was first used in 1981 during the redesigned Ram and Power Ram launch. Originally, it was developed on Dodge’s light truck line, but the brand has branched out to other heavier lines over the years.

Source: Malachi Jacobs/

First Generation (1981- 1993)

During this time, Dodge began displaying a Ram hood ornament on their trucks and vans. Since the line was new, Dodge decided to keep the prior model designations for its vehicles. “D,” “B,” or “Ram” referenced that the vehicle in question utilized two-wheel drive while “W” or “Power Ram” referenced a vehicle with four-wheel drive capability. When it came to aesthetics, the first-generation of Ram vehicles were essentially the same design as the previous generation Dodge D-series pickup truck that was first presented to the markets in 1972 with a few modifications. The new Ram model sported larger wraparound tail lamps, a newly designed headlamp, and new body lines.

The interior of the Ram line was updated with a new style of bench seat. The internal instrument cluster and dashboard came with a new three-pod design – the speedometer dominating the center, an ammeter on the top left, a temperature gauge on the bottom left, a fuel gauge on the top right, and an oil pressure gauge on the bottom right. For models that did not come with the full gauge package, indicator lights replaced the oil pressure and temperature gauges.

Other options for the first-generation Ram included a sliding rear cab window, cruise control, air-conditioning, bumper guards, tilt steering column, power door locks/windows, and an AM/FM stereo with a cassette tape player. In 1989, the Ram trucks sporting a 5.9 L V8 engine received a throttle body fuel injection for a 20 hp (horsepower) increase.

Another feature that was added (considered a luxury at the time) was Rear ABS. Furthermore, Dodge added an overdrive automatic transmission that reduced fuel consumption in many of its vehicles. This transmission, considered light-duty, was dubbed the A500 and came packaged with the 3.9 L V6 and 5.2 L V8. Also, a pushbutton called the “O/D Off” was added to give the driver the ability to turn off overdrive functionality.

For the 1991 line of Rams, the grille was redesigned, although it kept the classic rectangular headlamps and crossbars featured in past designs. 1992 included a huge upgrade to the engine (3.9 L and 5.2 L). 1993 introduced a 5.9 engine, new manifolds, multi-port fuel injections, and higher compression cylinder. This latest package was given the marketing name of “Magnum.” Also, a heavy-duty overdrive Torqueflite automatic transmission known as the A518 was packaged with the 5.2 L and 5.9 L engines. Eventually, an engine from the Cummins B series was added to the Dodge engine lineup.

For the very first time, Dodge saw an increase in its sales. The Cummins was recognized as a great engine because it could be coupled with a sturdier version of the A727 automatic or 5-speed manual transmission. The Cummins is available on Ford F-250 and Ford F-350 series pickup trucks

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The Dodge Brothers – The Company and The Family – Dr. Russel Dore @Auburn Hills Public Library


Join Dr. Russel Dore for this fascinating look at the historic Dodge brothers – Their life, legacy, and company.

More information on the Dodge Brothers here on Wikipedia

1915 Model 30-35 touring car

The World Needs More Non-Ford Speedsters and These ’33 Dodge Parts Would Be a Great Start. Here’s How I’d Build It. – David Conwill @Hemmings


I just came across all these parts stripped out of a 1933 Dodge Brothers DP Six. Presumably, that’s a sign that the body and frame are in the process of being street rodded. These parts are hardly useless, however, as they’ve got plenty of life left in them. Yes, you could set them aside planning to find and restore another ’33 Dodge, but I think they’d make the perfect basis for that rarest of creatures: a non-Ford speedster.

Early (i.e. pre-1949) Fords are neat. I love them. That said, there are a lot of them out there. Go to a prewar car event and Model T’s, Model A’s, and early V-8s are everywhere. People loved them and saved them and a whole industry (Hemmings included) grew up around keeping them alive long after the point when Ford Motor Company had moved on to more complicated and profitable designs.

Of course, even in the 1920s, when at times the Model T represented roughly half of the new-car market, Ford wasn’t alone in producing capable, affordable cars. One of its biggest rivals was Dodge Brothers, which had started life as a supplier to many of Detroit’s early players and was especially important to the eventual success of Henry Ford’s operation.

The brothers themselves, John and Horace, died in 1920, only six years after debuting their eponymous automobile. Dodge (which didn’t drop “Brothers” until 1938 or so) continued along after their demise, controlled by heirs and financial backers, especially investment bank Dillon, Read & Company, which acquired the Hamtramck-based automaker in 1925 and then sold it to Chrysler Corporation in 1928.

Dipping down into Plymouth’s market niche, in 1933, Dodge Brothers was positioning its Six seemingly against the new Ford V-8.

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Unrestored 1978 Dodge Challenger Features the Plaidest Interior That Ever Plaided – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


It’ll be tough to find another car quite like this 1978 Dodge Challenger listed for sale on Granted, it would be tough to find another running 1978 Dodge Challenger at all, let alone one that hasn’t succumbed to rust and neglect. But to find one still wearing its sundown stripes and with an interior positively covered in plaid, well, that’s rare. The paint looks tired, and there’s some damage around the taillamps that needs attention, but the car is unmodified and has a five-speed. From the seller’s description:

Completely original and left untouched, hopping in this Challenger is like stepping back in time. With a 2.6 liter engine and 5 speed, manual transmission, this car runs and drives like it just came off the lot in 1979. It passed our driving test with flying colors and would absolutely make an excellent daily driver. The body is in good shape, with no major damage or rust. There are some slight scuffs on the driver side, rear fender (see pictures) but that’s about it. Original orange paint, stripes and top are all in solid condition. The trunk space is clean and dry. It even comes with a spare tire! The upholstery inside is as cool as it gets. Plaid on the door panels and seats looks awesome. Slight weather wear in the backseat is all in this otherwise nearly flawless interior. Original overhead console is still functional, the original am-fm radio still works great too. This is a mechanically sound car that is ready for anything.

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Transforming a rust-infested 383 Dodge Charger into a show winner – Thomas A. DeMauro @Hemmings


John Hoffman was just 14 years old when the magnificently redesigned Charger was set loose for 1968, and he was convinced even then that someday he’d own an exquisite example of the breed. “I was in junior high school, and I thought it was the prettiest car I’d ever seen,” he remembers. “Then Bullitt was released and that sealed the deal for me. My friends liked the Mustang, but I was the Charger guy. I own that movie and still watch it once a year.

”John’s perceptions are representative of many who venerate Steve McQueen’s classic cop drama, which features one of the greatest car chases ever filmed, and has elevated the 1968 Charger to a pop culture icon. The Dodge’s allure isn’t limited to its cinematic appearance, however, as its engaging design continues to mesmerize even jaded muscle car fans.

All the Charger’s curves and creases were in just the right places. Its Coke-bottle shape, broad grille with concealed headlamps, flying-buttress roof that looked like a semi-fastback from the side but featured a recessed backlite, “racing-style” gas cap, and even the taillights conspired to create a muscular and cohesive visual presentation.

By the early 2000s, with vintage car values rising, John began getting that now-or-never feeling. The Telford, Pennsylvania, resident knew he’d better buy his ’68 before he was priced out of the market. His finances still wouldn’t allow a fully restored example, so he instead sought out one that needed work but was mostly original.

In August 2003, he spotted this Charger online, for sale in Kansas City, Missouri. It was an early build car and was desirably optioned with the 330-hp 383 V-8 with dual exhausts, TorqueFlite automatic, 3.23:1 Sure Grip rear end, air conditioning, tinted windows, driver’s-side remote-control outside mirror, cruise control, radio, center cushion with armrest between the bucket seats, power steering, and power brakes.

John noted that it still had its factory-applied F5 green paint and assembly-line-installed interior and powertrain. He says, “I liked this car because it was very original and seemed like it must have been ordered by an older buyer who didn’t mess around with it.”

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A 1958 Dodge Royal Lancer battles back from project car to show winner – Jim Black @Hemmings

Big fins and wide whitewalls were all the rage in the late ’50s and no one did it better than the Chrysler divisions. Dual exhausts were an extra cost option. Jim Black

United States car sales slumped in 1958 due to a nationwide recession, but, on the heels of a successful 1957, Dodge rolled out an updated lineup. The division’s 1958 cars were longer, lower, wider, more colorful, and sported an abundance of chrome. Plus, Dodge’s model offerings consisted of the entry-level Coronet, the Royal, the Custom Royal, and a new, top-of-the-line Regal Lancer. Dodge described them as the “Swept-Wing” 1958s in all of its marketing brochures.

Phil Shaw, from Auburn, Nebraska, is a 64-year-old retired UPS driver and Mopar enthusiast of the first order. Phil was looking for a retirement project that spanned the 1957-’59 Dodges when he came across a 1958 Dodge for sale online. The owner was from Norway, the ad was confusing to read, and a gallery of low-quality photos made it difficult to determine the car’s overall condition.

“The owner told me he had purchased the car online, from a seller in Bradenton, Florida, and then had it shipped to a shop in Rosenberg, Texas, to begin the restoration,” Phil says. “But after some work had been done he halted the restoration. He found out a short time later that he was terminally ill with cancer and decided not to see the job through.”

An RCA record player was a rare option not found on many cars of this era. The 45-rpm player held 13 records and played them upside down, so that the weight of the record kept the needle from skipping.

At that point, the car had also been completely disassembled and media blasted, and the shop had performed some sheetmetal repair on the floorpans and trunk floor. Reluctantly, Phil decided to bid on the ’58, not sure exactly what to expect since he had not seen the car in person. He won the auction and purchased the car in January of 2011. No other potential buyers bid against him, which sent up another red flag.

“I picked the car up a few days later. All the window glass had been discarded, and all the parts were in boxes and not well identified,” Phil says. “I examined the bare body and saw that a lot of rust repair was needed around the back window, but the rest of the body seemed to be solid and in good shape.”

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